Deep purple resided along the farthest reaches of the sky, and a few dozen stray stars still winked there. Lilitah regarded the dark amethyst hue above her and realized it was the precise shade of the stone in Maran’s ring. She’d always admired that piece of jewelry, and sometimes, whenever she watched Maran make bread during the wee hours of the morning, he would place it on a shelf above his work counter where it would glitter as if full of violet flames. She’d study the ring as it dazzled her and wonder what it would be like to wear it as her marriage band. Living behind the bread hut and maintaining a good friendship with its owner had its advantages. Maran always had something fascinating to discuss, and watching him knead dough or twist it into braids or form long loaves always seemed to calm Lilitah.
She stood on a dirt path and gazed up at the purple expanse where pink blazed across the horizon. The sky brightened, and light filtered into the valley between the village and the river. Lilitah pondered what would it feel like to fly in a sky that color. However, the mysterious hues of the night sky’s farthest corners were full of magic. Only the bread maker could promise such power to another person. His hands created the villagers’ bread, the staple of their diet, so it had to be done when the earth awakened and the powers of the night faded. Every baker over the ages knew that, and becoming the wife of such a man ensured their children would carry the magic through the generations.
“What are you thinking about?”
Startled, Lilitah spilled her cup of hot tree bark juice down the front of her dress and over her leather sandals.
“I'm sorry, Lilitah.” Maran passed her the rough cloth he always seemed to have slung over one shoulder. “You must have been up there with the stars,” he teased.
“No harm done.” She grinned at him as she patted the dampness from her clothes. Her gaze met his assessing one. Did Maran find her pleasing?
She certainly thought his face comely, and his large, expressive brown eyes always seemed to immobilize her if she looked into them for too long.
“I was just wondering what it would be like to fly up there amongst all those beautiful colors,” Lilitah said. Would he think her silly for entertaining such thoughts? After all, she might be an embroiderer for the village, but she was the youngest in the craft and had much yet to learn about it.
“I’ve often wondered that myself,” Maran replied.
His eyes met hers, and once again, Lilitah lost herself in their dark depths.
“Here,” said Maran. He held something wrapped in a dried palm leaf. “I brought you a berry biscuit.” He smiled, his eyes full of secrecy.
“Really?” She couldn’t believe he was offering her one of his rare sweet treats.
“It’s a special recipe passed down through the bakers. This biscuit serves a unique purpose.”
“Oh?” Lilitah accepted the treat from him. The biscuit still steamed from the hearth’s warmth.
“You must eat it alone.” He turned toward the door of his hut as the teacher of words emerged from a neighboring abode and began calling the children to school. “Tomorrow is the ceremony for the next couple who is to be joined,” he called over his shoulder. “I must prepare the bread bowls for the event. Be sure that you break open the biscuit before you eat it, Lilitah. It's a tradition. You must make a wish as you stare at the morning sky, then break open the biscuit.”
Lilitah glanced at the treat still encased in the dried palm frond. Removing the wrap, she revealed a warm, flakey biscuit as big as her fist. It smelled of almonds, goat butter, and sweet teetmo berries. Saliva flooded her mouth.
She chose a small cove at the river’s in which to break open her biscuit. Lilitah sat on large rock and watched the remainder of the day’s sunrise. She enjoyed the last traces of purple paying homage to the virgin pink of a new day and made her wish, a wish for a dark-eyed man with a handsome face. She inhaled the heady scent of the biscuit and broke it open.
Maran’s beautiful ring tumbled into the folds of her dress where it lay sparkling in the sunshine. Stunned, she could only sit and blink at the brilliant colors that danced within the stone’s depths. Finally, the meaning of it descended upon her with force. She rose and raced back to Maran’s hut.
As she burst through the flap covering the door, she found Maran sitting at a table enjoying a cup of hot tree bark juice. He set the cup down and stood, opening his arms to her, a huge smile on his face.
She leapt into Maran’s embrace and cried with joy against his shoulder as she clutched the marriage band tightly in her hand.
“Lilitah?” Maran said softly.
She looked up at him. “Yes, I am yours forever.”
“Now you know what couple is being joined tomorrow,” he said, laughing.
Lilitah laughed too. “Now you know what I wished for as I broke open your biscuit.”
Maran’s dark, dreamy gaze held Lilitah’s as he lowered his head and claimed her mouth. Heat swept across her body, and desire throbbed in her loins.
All too soon, Maran released her lips. “Tomorrow we make our own magic,” he said.
With a sigh of contentment, Lilitah wondered how her heart could hold so much love. Now she understood what it was like to fly high amongst the colors of the dawn.
About the Author: Azura Ice writes several subgenres of romance, which includes, but is not limited to het, ménage, m/m and can be set in contemporary times or even in a far away world or another dimension. Azura's muse leads her by the hand, and her fingers do the light-speed typing.
Who is Azura Ice? She's a full-time author who is owned by two crazy felines of tabby descent (although they swear they're of Egyptian lineage). Azura writes in an attic study that overlooks a beautiful valley and enjoys her husband's company when he's permitted to enter her domain. However, if he brings offerings of coffee and an occasional chocolaty treat, she's inclined to let him in her office more often.
Azura takes her writing seriously, so she doesn't hang out on forums or loops (she tries to avoid shiny object syndrome), but if you'd like to contact her, interview her, etc., you can reach her at Azura.Ice@live.com. Check out her website: http://ablueice.wordpress.com .